General Information – St Vincent and the Grenadines

General Information – St Vincent and the Grenadines

 

 

Referred to as the jewel of the Caribbean, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a beautiful collection of 32 islands in the Lesser Antilles of the Atlantic Ocean, with St Lucia to the north and Grenada to the south.

St. Vincent, the largest island in the Grenadines, is a luscious, forest-covered retreat which surrounds the magnificent La Soufriere, a 4000ft active volcano.  The nation’s capital, Kingstown, is located on the south-western coast of the island and offers traditional Caribbean charm and hospitality.

Beyond St. Vincent, the popular tourist islands of Mustique and Bequia offer barefoot chic with some of the world’s most desired and exclusive resorts and retreats.

The weather is best described as tropical and days are usually sunny and bright. The most humid months are June to September, when temperatures average 30C (86F). The tourist season usually coincides with more comfortable temperatures between December and May, although the trade winds often bring with them a welcome breeze throughout the year.  The islands’ driest months are between January and May and July tends to bring the wet weather. As with all Caribbean climates, there are hurricanes that pass through the islands, although these tend to follow a trail to the north of the Grenadines.

The recently completed Argyle International airport means that the islands are now connected to major transportation hubs. Direct flights to the islands can be found from North America. If you’re flying from Europe you can transfer to the island via regional carriers such as Mustique Airways or LIAT from most Caribbean islands including Antigua, Barbados, Grenada or St Lucia.

English is the official language of the Grenadines, although French and Portuguese speakers can be found across the islands.

The islands’ chief source of income comes from the tourism industry. The islands’ prominence as filming locations for blockbusters such as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise have broadcast their beauty to the world, ensuring their popularity as a breathtaking holiday destination.

Visitors to the islands should be aware that the official currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollars (ECD), which are accepted in the majority of countries in the Eastern Caribbean. Please be aware that cards are accepted in major hotels, businesses and restaurants, but smaller, local establishments may not have the facilities to accept card payments yet. For those holidaying on the islands, there is a 10% government tax added to hotel stays on top of VAT charged at 15%.

If you’re coming from the UK, when you arrive in the Grenadines you will need to put your clock back 4 hours in order to truly be on Caribbean time! There are no daylight savings time changes to worry about.

For those wishing to explore the Grenadines by car, you will be required purchase a temporary license which lasts for 6 months and supply a copy of a domestic driving license. You will need to drive on the left in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines have an independent parliament based upon the British system of government. The Queen is represented by a Governor General. The laws of the islands follow those of most Westernized countries and legal systems. Importantly, tourists should know that public nudity is illegal across the Grenadines and swimsuits should not be worn in towns, public areas and places of business. Please be aware that it is also illegal to wear camouflage clothing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Recent developments in infrastructure mean that connectivity across the islands is as fast and reliable as being at home. The majority of the area is covered by mobile phone signal through national suppliers and most hotels, shops and restaurants offer their customers free Wi-Fi with a local password. You should check your own network provider and tariff for charges prior to arrival.

To call St Vincent and The Grenadines from another country, you’ll need to use the country code 1-784.

Bank Account Requirements (Business)

 

 

 

Bank Account Requirements (Business)

 

Requirement for opening and Updating of Business, Companies, Societies and Groups Account

 For Registered entities:

 

Companies: – Certificate of Incorporation/ Registration, Articles of Association, Memorandum of Association/ by-laws and Notice of Change of Directors, Share allotment, Business plan/projections (for new companies), audited financials/ six months bank statement on account, certificate of good standing (for existing companies)

 

Businesses: – Certificate of Registration and Notice of Beneficial Owner(s), Application for certificate of registration, Business plan/projections

Churches/ Societies/ Groups: -Act of Incorporation / Certificate of Registration, Minutes from meeting stating the decision was made to open an account.

If the entity is subsidiary of another, bigger entity a letter must be provided granting the sub-entity permission to open an account.

If minutes aren’t provided/ if the minutes don’t state the instructions stated below then a letter must be provided with the instruction. The letter or minutes must state the following information:

  • The type of account to be opened (i.e. savings, chequing or fixed deposit or safe deposit box).
  • The purpose for which the account is opened.
  • A list of the signatories and their capacity within the Company/entity /Church etc…
  • How the account should be operated (i.e. any two to sign, or treasurer and any one etc….)

 

Each beneficial owner of the company must provide the following:

  • ID Card and Passport/ Driver’s License card (2 pieces of ID required)
  • Utility bill to verify residential address (i.e. water/ electricity/cable / phone) or any other document for address verification in customer’s name.
  • Financial details for example 6 months’ bank statements and financials
  • Social security/ tax payer information

 

Each signatory/ officer and director of the company must provide the following:

 

  • ID card and Passport/ Driver’s License card (2 pieces of ID required)
  • Utility bill to verify residential address (i.e. water/ electricity/cable / phone) or any other document for address verification in customer’s name.
  • Social security/ tax payer information
Updated December 2018 from Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines Ltd.

 

 

 

Bank Account Requirements (Personal)

 

 

 

 

Requirements for opening/ reactivation/ update of an account

Presentation of two (2) forms of picture identification:

  • ID card and/ passport and/ driver’s license card

Presentation of document to verify one’s residential address:

  • Electricity bill OR
  • Water bill OR
  • Cable bill OR
  • Phone bill OR
  • Bank Statement OR
  • Driver’s License

Please note that the bill must be in your name; if this is not the case then the person whose name the bill is in must present a letter to state that it is your address or you may get a Notary Public to state that you live at that address.

Presentation of documents to verify one’s income:

  • A recent pay-slip
  • A recent job letter
  • Must be more than six (6) months old and they must quote your salary
  • Copy of latest Tax Return
  • Proof of pension (if applicable)
  • Any other valid and official document to serve as proof of income/ earnings
  • Social Security card
  • Six months’ bank statements (must not be more than six (6) months old)

NB All forms and documents prepared away from the bank’s offices must be notarized. Foreign citizens must show their interest in SVG, reason for requiring an account in this state.

Buying a house is a pretty serious investment of money, a long-term one.  This being said, renting can be kept as a better option for some people, depending on their specific circumstances.  The current interest rates are incredible. A 30-year FHA mortgage can be locked in at a rate of around 3.5%.  Since the interest rates are so small, it actually can be more viable to pay a mortgage tomorrow, than continuing paying your monthly rent today… But before you decide, ask yourself few critical things.  One of the most important questions to consider is the length you plan on staying in a home, if you were to purchase.  If the answer is a couple of years, then renting out is a smarter decision for sure!

 

Property Buying Guide

Grenadines Investments are specialists in locating unique investment properties across the Grenadines. Buying properties around the world should be straightforward with clear information and expert guidance. This guide will provide an introduction to investing and buying properties in the Grenadines. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any specific questions you may have.

Where are the best places to invest?

With one of the most exclusive real estate markets in the Caribbean, the Grenadines offers exclusivity and luxury across its many charming towns, villages and islands. Bequia, the second largest island in the Grenadines, is the current hotspot for investment and is renowned for barefoot chic and laidback luxury. The fashionable Mustique, famous for high-end resorts, has some of the most distinct and luxurious properties in the world.

There are no restrictions on foreign nationals purchasing real estate in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Government officials, business owners and locals welcome dedicated investment in the islands.

What is the process for buying property?

For those wishing to buy a property, estate or land in the Grenadines (except Canouan and Mustique) it is essential to apply for an Alien Land Holiday License (ALHL) which can cost between $10,000 and $105,000 Eastern Caribbean Dollars, depending on the value of the property. ALHLs can be applied for through a lawyer and require identification and references.

A deposit of 10% is paid upon exchange of contracts with the balance paid upon the license being awarded. Buyers are also required to pay stamp duty on purchases, typically 5% of the purchase price, upon completion of sale. Legal fees for property transactions in the Grenadines are applied and usually work out to approximately 1% of the purchase price.

The purchase process can take around 6 months to complete, with the ALHL issued within 3 or 4 months. Completion of purchases usually happens 4 to 6 weeks after issue of the license.

Government Taxes

Annual property taxes in the Grenadines are applied to all owners of land and property. However, there are many tax advantages while living in the Caribbean, with no inheritance or capital gains tax.